Skip to main content
9:00 am
not notice and trigger the appeal deadline. we added clarifying language that the historic preservation commission per the charter will continue, have full authority to comment on environmental documents that may impact the resources -- historic resource he. ~ there was concern about that. we had several meeting with heritage and we had clarifying language. it was never our intent to change that charter required procedure. the original ordinance specified that exemptions that are not noticed would only have 20 days to appeal, which isn't enough time. i agree and we introduced an amendment specifying that the appeal period will begin after notice for a public hearing with a posting on the planning department website of the determination. there is also a provision in the ordinance that would allow for a consolidated notice for
9:01 am
large rezonings. we are already getting notice and it would be unreasonable to require an additional separate c-e-q-a notice. and we had provide that had that would apply to any area plans of five acres or more. we changed that to 20 acres or more so we narrowed the scope. i also understand that planning staff is recommending that the deadline to appeal be extended from 20 days to 30 days after that first entitlement and i agree with that change. and i do intend to amend the legislation assuming that the commission recommends it, to extend the appeal period from 20 to 30 days. now, before i wrap up, i do want to acknowledge what i think you probably already know, that on tuesday supervisor kim introduced a different version of legislation around c-e-q-a appeals. it is my understanding that aaron peskin was playing a role in the drafting of that. we have been hearing about that
9:02 am
for a while and that now apparently has been introduced at the board. that legislation was not drafted by the city attorney's office. the legislation has not been approved as to form by the city attorney's office. i learned about the introduction of this legislation on early tuesday evening after our board meeting. my understanding is that planning staff and the city attorney did not know about its introduction until after it was introduced. since tuesday evening when we learned about this legislation, we have been trying to review it and analyze it, and we are continuing to do so. from our initial review and analysis, i want to bring several thing to your attention. i believe that this legislation will make our current, already bad c-e-q-a process significantly worse and more convoluted and more time consuming and more confusing than it already is rather than simplifying it. to give you a few examples, the
9:03 am
legislation as it states, will allow for a separate c-e-q-a appeal for each separate permit granted as part of the project. so, if your project has five different entitlements, someone can file five separate c-e-q-a appeals to the board of supervisors. another provision, for every single building in san francisco that is 50 years or older, which is an overwhelming portion of our building stock, every building 50 years or older and for every single project, no matter what it is, in a park or quote-unquote open space, which is a very broad category, even minor projects on those 50 plus year old buildings, parks or open space would no longer be eligible for a categorical exemption stamp over the counter. instead, the environmental review officer would be required to issue a full certificate of exemption. as you know, that is a very
9:04 am
detailed document. the estimated fee is in the thousands, maybe $5,000 instead of a $300 fee. it can take months to complete instead of hours or days. and this is for any project relating to those buildings or parks or open space. in addition, for any 50 plus year old building or park or open space, the historic preservation commission will be given authority to hold a hearing to consider each of those certificates of exemption. this is for every change to those buildings or parks and open space. this would be an extraordinary increase in the time, cost, and bureaucracy for even minor projects. playground renovation, planting a median with trees, whatever it is, it would apply. in addition, for every single
9:05 am
draft negative declaration for a 50 plus year old building, for a park, for an open space, you would be required to go to the historic preservation commission for a hearing, all of them, required hearing at the hpc. this is an unprecedented expansion of the role of the hpc and another increase in cost and time and delay and confusion. the legislation would also require automatic consideration by this commission of a negative declaration even if no one appealed that negative declaration within the statutory period. if there is any subsequent action by the planning commission, anyone could come forward at that time well past the deadline to appeal, and request that the commission consider the negative declaration. in addition, the legislation would require this commission to micro manage planning department staff.
9:06 am
it would require that this commission would have to approve every single change to any administrative staff bulletin, to any checklist, to any form, to any processing guideline that planning department staff came up with. i'm sure that there are other issues. we've only had two days to analyze it. this legislation had a total at the top called the community alternative c-e-q-a legislation. i'm not sure what community it's referring to, but it's certainly not the broad san francisco community that wants our park and open space to be improved, that wants people to be able to fix up their homes, and that doesn't want a dramatic increase in city bureaucracy delays and costs. commissioners, my legislation before you today is a balanced plan that will finally bring clarity and transparency to our c-e-q-a appeal process. this results from enormous almost six months worth of work
9:07 am
with planning department staff, with members of the community, and with opponents of the legislation. i have done exactly what you asked me to do, engage in outreach and dialogue, and to be flexible. i made many amendments, and this legislation deserves your support. i'm happy to answer any questions that you have. >> thank you very much. are you able to stay for a little bit? >> i will stay. >> thank you. >> good evening, commissioners, sara jones from the environmental planning section of the planning department. as you've heard this evening from supervisor wiener, this ordinance was developed with the help of our staff to address a crucial deficit that we have in our procedures right now under chapter 31. chapter 31 of the administrative code governs all of our c-e-q-a review work in san francisco in addition to
9:08 am
the c-e-q-a guidelines themselves, of course. our department remains very firm in the belief that the current lack of rules is really to no one's benefit around these appeals of negative declarations and categorical exemptions. we've had procedures codified for several years for environmental impact reports, but nothing codified for these other types of c-e-q-a documents. with the lack of procedures, as supervisor wiener mentioned, a city attorney opinion is needed to determine the timeliness of each and every appeal. no one, not the planner, not the clerk of the board, not the public, not the project sponsor can answer confidently when an appeal of the environmental document is or is not timely or allowed. since 2010, approximately a quarter of attempted exemption appeals were found to be inappropriately filed. that is, not timely or not right.
9:09 am
during that time, zero of the attempted appeals of environmental impact reports were determined to be filed in an untimely way. and the reason for that is that applicants or appellants, excuse me, know exactly when they can file e-i-r appeals, but not the other types of documents. so, the proposal that is at hand right now would accomplish three major changes. first, of course, establish procedures to clarify when appeal could be made. second, and this really goes hand in hand with clarifying the time in which an appeal could be filed. there is an increase in notification of when an approval action has occurred triggering that time in which an appeal could be filed. and overall, third, it increases the predictability of the process. it would allow the review process for projects to proceed even during the time that an appeal of an environmental document is filed.
9:10 am
no actions could occur that would result in any environmental impact, but the process could continue to move forward. these changes are not intended in any way to limit the ability of anybody to appeal c-e-q-a determinations. in fact, we would expect that the result of these changes would actually be an increase in c-e-q-a appeals to the board of supervisors. that's okay. the appeals process should be accessible to all. and it's accessible, we will likely see more appeals. so, while our department is recommending a couple of minor tweaks to the ordinance, i really do want to emphasize that we strongly support the overall effort. it is crucial to have clear c-e-q-a -- a clear c-e-q-a process and this proposal would do just that. now, anne marie rodgers will review the evolution of the ordinance over the last several months, and during the time since you considered it last. thank you. >> thank you.
9:11 am
>> thank you very much. for my presentation i'd like to discuss three item. first i'd like to review your request from the last hearing, what's happened in the interim period, and finally what our department recommendations are for today. but first, what did the commission request last time? those of hpc and this commission were pretty uniform in their recommendations. add clarity to what is the first discretionary action that would trigger the beginning for the ability to appeal. two, consider extending the appeal period. and three, ensure longer appeal periods for projects that don't have notice. and finally, as you heard, conduct further outreach. fourth, discuss the outreach first. as your packet describes, the broad group of community organizations, environmental groups, and folks from historic resource groups have participated. the majority of the comments in the ordinance were received in the fall. in your packet is one more recent letter with seven
9:12 am
concerns and i'll be handing out additional letters that we've gotten since the packet was published. the comments are quite diverse and cover a range of different concerns from process related concerns to very detailed and specific legal concerns. to help you understand these comments, the department categorized them in and attempted to catalog the comments in exhibit c. exhibit c lists over 54 types of comments and attempts to describe whether the proposal has been amended in response to that request. in general, this chart shows there have been a number of concerns raised and a number of revisions, i guess a ton of those revisionses that have been made. but, of course, not every ~ request for change has happened. as you request for further outreach, this additional engagement and iterative changes certainly did happen. next, you requested to consider extending the appeal period. this change has been
9:13 am
considered, but has not yet been made uniformly. what has changed is where appeal noticing requirements have been met, the appeal where they have not been met, the appeal window would be open, meaning there is requirements and if you don't meet them, the clock doesn't start running. what has not yet changed is uniformly extending the appeal window for all appeal types. the proposal is at 20 days. today we're going to ask you to ask the supervisor to continue extending that to 30. and lastly, the commission asks for clarity as to the trigger for the appeal window. this is now been definitively defined. the window for appeal would begin at the first approval action and depending on the type of projects. for exemptions of private projects, the first approval would either be at a publicly noticed hearing by the planning commission or the zoning administrator and these would include your dr hearings. or if there were no hearing, at
9:14 am
planning, the trigger would be the first approval at another city body that was publicly noticed. or if that didn't occur, there was no publicly noticed hearing, the first approval would be with the building permit. so, three general trigger starts, public planning hearing, [speaker not understood] or hearing permit. for exemptions associated with public projects, the first approval would be at a publicly noticed hearing and again, if no notice for hearing occurred, it would be the decision by a public body that relies on our exemption and commits the city to this course of action. all public projects would be required to post notice of exemption on our department website. that notice then occurs, the appeal window remains open. those are how the proposal addresses past concerns of the commission. the [speaker not understood] k24 also describes issues such as the board of the decision body and notice for plan areas that are over 20 acres in size.
9:15 am
staff can describe those issues in more detail if the commission is interested. but for now i'd like to move on to the department's recommendation for this proposed ordinance. as explained, the city has been in need of clarity on how c-e-q-a appeals should proceed since the state law changed in 2002 to allow appeals to the board. this proposal fairly provides both additional notification and additional clarity about how to appeal. it would enable valid c-e-q-a appeals to be considered, but would not utterly derail approvals when a c-e-q-a appeal is found to be either overturned by the board or not timely by allowing these approvals to continue while a c-e-q-a appeal is under consideration. the planning commission has recommended approval of similar proposals in 2006 and both the planning commission and the hpc
9:16 am
recommended approval of an earlier draft in 2010 that was contained more elements. but that said, the department is requesting two additional modifications today. first as i said, increasing the appeal window to 30 days. and as you know currently the appeal window for e-i-rs appears to be functional and it is only 20 days. but this type of c-e-q-a document has much greater process and therefore we feel a longer window for the simpler documents with less process is appropriate. to ensure consistency, though, and to cut down on confusion we're recommending that all appeal windows be that uniform 30 days. second, we're asking for increased clarity for when the board is to speak with a decision making body. this may be one of the areas of greatest concerns. since state c-e-q-a law does not require a separate appeal, when the elected body is approving a c-e-q-a document, no separate appeal process would be required under the proposal. c-e-q-a issues could still be
9:17 am
raised when a board is considering the actual approval action. and we feel this is a logical avenue. consider c-e-q-a and the project approval at the same hearing together. that said, to assist the board, the public, the sponsor, the department to understand how these issues would be raised at the board hearing, the department recommends codifying procedures for submitting c-e-q-a related concerns for these hearings in a manner that is consistent with how the clerk currently prepares the board packet. this is consistent with the proposed legislation's logic for submitting materials for the other appeal types that are actual appeals. and explained for the combined hearings where the board is the decision making body. with these two amendments, the department recommends approval and we're available for questions when you're ready. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> okay, opening it up for public comment, and i have a bunch of speaker cards here.
9:18 am
if we can have everyone line up on the right side of the room, there will be no confusion about who is speaking next. calling names ron miguel, dennis moskovian, my apologies, lori lineman, eric brooks, michael raisin, danny campbell, and howard wong. commissioners, ron miguel. i'd like to thank the supervisor for the outreach made. i was at attendance at a number of the meetings. it was outreached to a large variety of both supporters and those in opposition and those who were before you when this subject came up to you before. i think it was thorough.
9:19 am
i think it was well attended. and i think it was well listened to, particularly as the supervisor just told you, there have been at least 34 changes since it was originally involved. i have been reading legislation of one type or another since the late '50s when i was a lobbyist in sacramento. and then involved in c-e-q-a and nepa situations, 16 years as president of par, and been with the housing action coalition and, of course, when i was on the other side of the podium. one of the problems is clarity and certainty, and no one knows particularly when it deals with cad x's and negative declarations where that certainty is, and there
9:20 am
absolutely has been no clarity. regardless of what you may have heard from some members of the public, this is not a change or revision of c-e-q-a. if you want to get into that, go to sacramento. that's not what this is about. i have family members come to me constantly, maybe because i'm now the senior in the family, and show me an agreement, a contract, policy, land use papers, and say, what does this really mean? and we all have that, and we don't need that in the processes and procedures that we deal with in the city. we should know what something means when we look at it. we should know what actions can be taken, when and where they can be taken.
9:21 am
as the supervisor mentioned to you, there is an expansion of the noticing requirements. certainly the 30 days i fully agree with. i have not had a chance to take a look at supervisor kim's legislation. to my knowledge, this has been no general outreach. i don't know who her office has been talking to. a majority of buildings in san francisco are 50 years old or more. anything that deals with that is going to deal with the entire city. if you think you're going to be late tonight, just think what's going to happen if that legislation went through. yeah, i see the smirks and smiles up there. that type of legislation results in a city frozen in time. it does not allow for the
9:22 am
normal, logical, thoughtful planned change that is necessary for san francisco. this legislation, as i say, works. more than anything else, what we have now is confusion, object obfuscation and uncertainty. and we can't let it continue. thank you. ~ good afternoon, commissioners -- good evening, i guess, commissioners. eric brooks again representing san francisco green party, the local grassroots organization in our city. and i've been coordinating the community c-e-q-a improvement team that you received an e-mail from earlier or yesterday. first i want to clarify, we are
9:23 am
not against improving our access to c-e-q-a locally and improving the process. we understand that there needs to be a clearer trigger for appeals instead of the open-ended process right now. we understand that we need to clarify this stuff so it's better for both sides of this debate. because we are not well served by planning staff and the board of supervisors clerk and the city attorney having to make things up as they go along. it is true. and by the way, just to clarify, where the kim version came from, supervisor kim was very gracious to make sure that the piece of legislation that she is putting forward was vetted by the people that sent you that note, over 30 organizations, over 50 active organizers from all across the spectrum, parks groups,
9:24 am
neighborhood groups, environmental groups, many environmental c-e-q-a attorneys were involved in this including attorneys from center for biological diversity, [speaker not understood], we also had some advice from stuart flash man, sue hester and susan [speaker not understood] as the note said to you. so, the key issue here is not that supervisor wiener didn't take the first step of meeting with us. it was a little rocky at first, but we did have three full meetings with supervisor wiener, and plenty of time to be heard. and supervisor wiener did, indeed, make 34 amendments to his legislation and we just heard about the 30 days, and that's an improvement. we still do need 60 days for unnoticed projects. but the 30 days is an improvement. however, when it really comes down to it, we have some very key, very important things that we -- that entire coalition is
9:25 am
insisting on. and on none of those key issues were any substantial amendments made in supervisor wiener's legislation. the big stuff wasn't changed like the first approval trigger. that's a no go for this coalition. we need to have a clear trigger, but it needs to be a final approval of a project, not a first approval. that would gut a lot of process out. so, stuff like that was not changed. once we saw that that was the case, we knew that we had to communicate with another sponsor to get something to move us forward. that's what came of the -- that's where the kim legislation is from, not from aaron peskin, from a very large group of neighborhood groups, environmental groups, social -- >> thank you for your time. thank you. commissioners, my name is
9:26 am
dennis [speaker not understood]. i'm a native san franciscan. i'm an active member of both the san francisco labor council for decades and the san francisco community and a parks advocate. and for years had to struggle to help save our community from excessive development. i only give you that introduction for one reason. i felt like supervisor wiener sort of marginalized those of us in the community by his implicit criticism of people, as well as miguel's criticism of obstructionists. i don't consider myself either, and i wouldn't characterize other people that way and i didn't appreciate supervisor using the standard political trick to just sort of marginalize citizen comments. and i think it's pre-sum shuns, frankly, even though i have read a draft of kim's legislation. i haven't read what was finally submitted. ~ i was part of the process and met both with in one or two
9:27 am
meetings with wiener, but i also met with a group of attorneys and other c-e-q-a folks in developing alternatives because of specific concerns. so, let me address my concerns. unfortunately i have to wear glasses. my first concern is the first approval. it has taken all the way down to this point to hear that the possibility is that supervisor wiener is going to adjust his first approval. but as i understand it, it's not all together clear what it exactly is going to be, and i did hear staff's description of first approval. but his first approval was a building permit. it would come out of notice. so, who is going to notify people if the first approval is an actual building permit because it didn't go through any of the process. secondly, until today, supervisor wiener's proposal refused to budge beyond 20 days and even here in his
9:28 am
presentation he said only if you direct him to do the 30 days will he consider it. finally, there is a question of a series of approvals if a project is approved, and then later it's changed, who decides what kind of changes will qualify for an appeal? who decides at what level those changes become substantial enough? and is that something that's going to be notified to the public? so, i think for a number of reasons i would urge at least a couple of thing. answers to these questions. and secondly, that the commission carefully weigh both pieces of legislation since i'm sure they're going to both march forward so that we don't end up with some kind of a situation in which you guys have approved one, and then there is another one before the board and there is a split at the board over these, but we don't actually get the kind of improvements to [speaker not
9:29 am
understood] and appellants that we need. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please. my name is michael [speaker not understood]. i'm a member of the park merced action coalition, i live in park merced and i consider c-e-q-a a very important tool to protect the environment and for citizens of san francisco to be enfranchised in the democratic process. and i do feel that supervisor wiener's legislation, which i have followed dutifully as a member of the community c-e-q-a improvement team as well, is going to endanger the participatory democracy that we're entitled to. i think that two things have really struck me in this process. since november 29th, this

March 20, 2013 9:00am-9:30am PDT

TOPIC FREQUENCY Wiener 9, San Francisco 9, Ron Miguel 2, Eric Brooks 2, Aaron Peskin 2, Sacramento 2, Danny Campbell 1, Dennis Moskovian 1, Hpc 1, The Board 1, Michael Raisin 1, Uniform 1, Uniformly 1, Howard Wong 1, Entire City 1, San Franciscan 1, Lori Lineman 1, Stuart 1, Anne Marie Rodgers 1, Kim 1
Network SFGTV
Duration 00:30:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 24 (225 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 528
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color